Henry Brown Youth Centre
Henry Brown Youth Centre is a vital, but tired community resource located near Bournemouth. Based on previous analysis and proposals for a public arts centre, the practice was engaged to provide a feasibility study on bringing the rapidly failing building into the 21st century.
Following an immersive study of the requirements of both the staff and the vibrant youth groups who would use the centre, including brain storming sessions with the kids themselves, it was clear that a modern, modular building which could adapt to the changing needs and varied activities was required, one that supported the independence of the kids whilst also providing a safe and positive environment. Encouragingly, both the staff and kids thought it was vital that the building was sustainable, and ‘healthy’ – with plenty of natural light and fresh air.
The subsequent proposal was for an open, dynamic and flexible structure, that would provide an environment to match the aspirations of the staff and users. The welcoming, flowing plan invites not just kids, but the community at large to use the facilities, inside and outside spaces linking seamlessly, augmented with natural light and ventilation. An internal ‘street’ connects the open plan social space with the library, dramatic round performance space and dedicated sports hall. Dedicated counseling and administrative facilities allow staff to give vulnerable kids one to one time, whilst being able to oversee and manage the entire premises.
This project was conceived as a place the users could be proud of, an expression of vitality that could imbibe in the users a sense of ownership, responsibility and positivity.